Escape to the Coed-y-Brenin this autumn for some first class mountain-biking

From very humble beginnings, the Coed y Brenin (or King's Forest) has grown into one of the top mountain-biking resorts in the whole of the British Isles. It was actually the vision of one man, Dafydd Davis, that saw this once little known forest park become the very first dedicated mountain-biking centre within Snowdonia and co-incidentally within the United Kingdom at the same time.

After a few short years, it was soon eclipsed by other more technically advanced and expansive resorts in Scotland and the Lakes. But time and again, Dayfydd and his team kept apace with the competition and changed the Coed y Brenin from one single trail of 11km into the 100km of varied tracks that can be found there today.

One-time forest sports development adviser for the Coed-y-Brenin, Dafydd literally began the extensive network of biking trails with little more than a few shovels, pick-axes and an army of like-minded volunteers. He instinctively seemed to know what appealed to the biking community, and with the backing of the Forestry Commission he was able to develop the varied loops, descents and miles of single track trails into the high octane riding sensation that the Coed-y-Brenin has become today.

As a lasting testimony to Dafydd's success, people have come in ever increasing numbers to the forest park since the very first trail opened in the early 1990s. Indeed well over 120,000 people are said to have visited the forest park's all new visitors centre last year at Dolgefeiliau, according to the latest available reports. And around 80 per cent of them were thought to have gone there solely to try out the biking.

The £1.6 million visitors' centre completed in 2006, is said to have impeccable green credentials, which include a wooden fabric and structure that was largely extracted from the local forest. In addition, the building has been insulated with simple newspaper, and has a design that has done away with the need for costly air conditioning. The centre is also run entirely on a woodchip type of fuel that is again taken from locally available resources.

Not only that, the building also has a tourist information centre that offers all kinds of leaflets on the biking and other activities available locally. There's also Beics Brenin bike hire shop for those who don't wish to bring their own bikes, and an cafe (Bwyd y Brenin) that sells a wide range of tasty snack food in addition to more substantial meals. Flapjacks and tea are said to be one of their great pick-me-ups, and the cafe is open 7 days a week in the peak season, and Thursdays to Mondays outside that.

Incidentally, all the bike trails within the Coed y Brenin begin at the new visitors' centre and most are for the more experienced riders among the mountain-bike fraternity (and sorority).

The new Yr Afon trail follows the road and forestry routes along the local River Mawddach, and is said to be suitable for beginners and families.

Our holiday cottage, Glyn-yr-Aur, in the Coed-y-Brenin, makes for the perfect base camp from which to explore all the myriad of tracks and trails available, some of which can take people, the better part of a day to finish.
Three of the trails (Dragons'Back, MBR and The Beast) pass within half a mile of Glyn-yr-Aur

There's also plenty of other activities to try out in the area if you want a break from biking; there's masses of walking or running trails in addition to opportunities to go white water rafting, climbing, sight-seeing, boating, fishing or swimming in the sea. There's also lots of cafes and pubs selling reasonably priced food and beer or (as most people do) bring your own beer and use the Glyn-yr-Aur barbecue with complementary charcoal. You could even have a beach party or barbecue on the miles and miles of coastline on Cardigan Bay. The coastal resorts of Barmouth, Fairbourne, Harlech, Aberdovey, Borth and Criccieth are all within driving distance.

As we're fully booked for summer, we're more than pleased to take bookings for this autumn, or next year, for anyone interested in discovering the Coed-y-Brenin for the first time, or perhaps wanting to respark their interest in the trails.

For more details about booking a break away, please contact Bob or Jane Chilton on 01341 440611 email us at onygena@onetel.com

Mountain biking weekends (Friday and Saturday nights) are £200 Midweek breaks (Sunday to Friday) are £180 for five nights in total and if your legs can manage a full week then its only £300 from September to March.
In any event, we hope we can look forward to welcoming you to the Coed-y-Brenin soon.

THE TRAILS

Afon

This trail of 13km should take most people about 1.5 hrs to complete. It is suitable for beginners and families and follows in the main sections of road and forestry track close to the River Mawddach. People will also pass the former workings of the Gwynfynydd goldmines.

Temptiwr

This trail of 9km in length is also said to be suitable for novices and beginners and should take people about an hour to complete. The trail is said to give people a short taster of some of the best bits of the trails close to the visitors' centre.

MBR

More advanced riders should find this 18km trail more to their liking, which is said to include more open-style trails that pass through some of the best scenery within the Coed-y-Brenin. Most people should take around 2 hours to finish this whole course.

Tarw

This trail was the former Red Bull trail, which was also the very first biking trail to be laid out within the whole of the Coed-y-Brenin. But it has now been extended to a full 20km and includes plenty of technically challenging sections that include rocks, twists and turns that should almost certainly keep riders on the edge of their seats. Most people should take up to 2 hrs to finish the course, which is only suitable for more advanced bikers.

Dragon's Back

This 31km course is for expert riders only and is characterised by long climbs, tight singletrack and long, fast descents, that pass through some amazing mountain scenery. Riders should allow four hours to complete this particular course.

The Beast

This trail as its name suggests is not for the faint-hearted and is seen as the most challenging trail of all within the Coed-y-Brenin. At 38km long, the trail promises to be both physically and mentally demanding, and people should not try it if their fitness levels are low. Don't underestimate the 'bite of the Beast' say writers at mbwales.com. Taking an average of 4.5 hours to complete, people need to be really sure they're capable of lasting the course, or perhaps should just tackle it a bit at a time.


The Glyn-yr-Aur bikewash!